Do We Need Government? (The Social Contract) – 8-Bit Philosophy
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Do We Need Government? (The Social Contract) – 8-Bit Philosophy

October 18, 2019

Imagine a time before kings, presidents, or
prime ministers, before the formation of society and civilization. This is what philosophers
call a state of nature. In this thought experiment, people lived freely, without rules or formal
laws. But what exactly does this state look like? For 17th century philosopher Thomas Hobbes the state of nature is a war of all
against all. Mankind’s basic nature is fear, insecurity, death, and turmoil. And from this constant terror, people decided to surrender some basic rights to a sovereign entity, or what he called
the Leviathan. If one was, say, fed up with the theft of
his potions, the state could pass laws to protect his goods or help him receive some
sort of reparation. This protection is important for a number of reasons, but the most significant
is that laws, and their enforcement, keep constant anxiety at bay. For 18th century Swiss-born
french philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the state of nature is rather
different than that conceived by Hobbes. Rousseau sees natural man
as independent, solitary, and peaceful. Rousseau thought people were much
better off without government. With the creation of agriculture, private
property, and the division of labor, however, came inequalities. Unequal access to resources
created tension, enmity, and envy. People started to become aware of their limited material situation and lack of upward mobility. They became aware of their unfreedom. This led Rousseau to claim that “Man is born free and is everywhere in chains.”
While both philosophers describe the state of nature as a sort of beastly existence absent
any morality, they disagree on some fundamentals. Rousseau sees the Hobbesian model as leading
to despotism, in which people have no choice but to turn to a third party to secure basic
needs. Consequently, they do not freely choose their leaders. Rousseau argues that rather
than choosing leaders out of fear, people choose to give up some power and rights,
at least so that citizens can be equal. Rousseau dictated that decisions ought to be made for the sake of everyone, instead of a few. This would require that people follow a rule of law that they would follow
on their own anyway. For Rousseau, people are
better without government. Because society means
unfreedom and oppression. Whether out of fear or for the sake of equality, the consent to be ruled is called the social contract. So listeners I ask, “Who has it right?” Do people need to be kept in line or should they remain
free to do as they wish?

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  1. Thomas Hobbs was definitely right about how we acted without government but I think that Rousseau had a more accurate description of how government came about

  2. In my town we have a volunteer fire department. Government is not always needed to organize. Early anarchist were big on co-operation an organization. People read up on the ideals, an stop listening to propaganda.

  3. What a gross distortion of what anarchy is. "oh, it's just people that don't believe in rules or morality and all they care about is raping and murdering each other." it's only because some guys wrote down on a piece of paper that it's wrong is why we don't do these things. Completely bogus video presenting a non-argument.

  4. Rousseau had it right just look at the state of things today; we're practically on the brink of another resession and another world was 3

  5. i couldn't agree more with hobbes in that absolute freedom in dangerous and thus some higher law needs to be put in place to keep everyone withinthe same civic bubble.

    partisan divisions are a sign of a weak government incapable of enforcing uniform values across its domain, hence why America is so divided against the moment, the federal government is paradoxically powerful enough to take over the world yet not powerful enough to impose its will above that of the individual states, and that was a deliberate fail-safe in case the federal government became more tyrannical (post FDR reforms), although this does have its flaws as positive rights aren't enforced equally. (federal anti lynching legislation was halted by the democratic senators of the solid south during the jim crow era, the federal congress had to apologize in 2005 after a lawsuit by the NAACP).

    just because there are failures in the rule of law, doesn't mean we have to destroy all government outright, it just means it has to be tweaked in response to changing problems, to think otherwise is to be guilty of the nirvana fallacy. (and throwing the taxation is theft curveball is a red herring TBH)

    sure the changes are slow, but slow change is longer lasting than radical change that backslides back into tyranny (french revolution).

  6. This guy: "And thus all intelligent thought on freedom and social organization ended with Rousseau. Therefore Statism"

    Me: "Ahh, what about the refined philosophy of Frederic Bastiat, Lysander Spooner, Carl Jung, Herbert Spencer, Auberon Herbert, Ludwig von Mises, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Walter Block, David Friedman, John Hasnas, Gerard Casey, Thomas DiLorenzo, Lew Rockwell, Roderick Long, Michael Huemer, Bryan Caplan, Larken Rose…+200 others?" I doubt this guy has even heard of any of these brilliant minds much less absorbed any of their brilliance through reading for himself. Together they not just explode, but supernova the idea that government is legitimate. The erroneous legitimizing of government has only led human civilization to produce one failed experiment after another producing immeasurable suffering, death and destruction.

  7. Comparing today with 15th century civilization is stupid we have a need for education so that we don't die at age 20 from getting sick and dying.

  8. im so glad you guys started making loner videos with jared's awesome presentation. 8 bit philosophy was too short, and hard to follow and it left much to be desired


  10. The social contract is a social construct and an ethereal concept with no factual basis whatsoever! We do not need government to keep robbers from robbing us when we can do it ourselves!

  11. Answer: Nope, because if the man is naturally selfish, who would stop him to use the government power for his own purpouse over other people?

  12. When do we really get to be free? Are people too lazy to live their own life and take care of themselves? By the way…your government owns you! Cant leave, then another government will own you. There is no escape for any of us…very unfortunate. Abolish all forms of organized government. It has never worked. History shows us that fact. People have been controlled since the beginning. When will we stop letting an "elected leaders" control us?We can still be productive humans without all this mess. It's not helping..only hurting our human race…..#standalone

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